Unfinished versus Off track

It seems that we are reassured by finding names for our experience of imperfection. We are dysfunctional, off track, or broken somehow. But sometimes we are simply unfinished. Human development continues for a lifetime. We know from much research that people are continuing to develop their understanding, their judgement, and their capacity for relationships right up until the end of their lives. So just because we have not achieved perfection, that does not mean we are somehow defective.

It is true that traumatic early experience can compromise our capacities to relate to others, cope with adversity, and express ourselves in our lives fully. We can find ourselves with more building to do than other people may have just because we have some repair work to do. But the fundamental notion that we have to find something wrong with ourselves and fix it can cause us to misunderstand what is reasonable in our own unique developmental process. In other words, it is okay that we have not quite eliminated every flaw yet.

One of the deep joys of personal growth is the satisfaction of seeing our efforts take effect. As we practice living and get better at it, we see ourselves facing challenges and overcoming them, becoming closer and closer to the people we want to be instead of the people we started out as. It can be discouraging to recognize our own limitations and failures. But it is the ongoing commitment and effort at moving closer and closer to our ideals that makes us who we are. We cannot control the outcomes, but we can keep working at becoming our best selves, and that effort creates us more than any outcome ever could.

About norasblog

I am a psychotherapist with a private practice in downtown Chicago.
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1 Response to Unfinished versus Off track

  1. Shale Marks says:

    this is beautifully written. thank you.

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